After eight months of negotiations, Duval County teachers will get retroactive pay increases in March. The lump-sum payments will cover their increases for the 2017-18 school year, going back to July 2017.
The Duval County School Board approved the new teacher salary agreement Tuesday evening.
The most experienced Duval teachers are supposed to get an annual raise, but that didn’t happen at the beginning of the school year.
“We were in a perplexing situation because, as you know, the Board identified a shortfall in the district,” Duval Teachers United President Terrie Brady said.
Union negotiations were happening as the district grappled with going over budget by about $21 million.
“We had to work on maintaining,” Brady said.
Duval teachers are paid two different ways, depending on when they were hired. Most who started with the district before 2011 are paid based on experience, getting a raise every year, or “step.” They’re grandfathered in under a recent state law. Teachers who started since 2011 get performance pay, meaning they get a raise of $2,001 for a highly effective score, or $1,000.50 for an effective score.
Brady said the district wanted to decrease yearly raises for the pre-2011 teachers by adding more “steps,” or years, to the schedule and spreading the dollars out more, but the union got the district to back down. In addition, teachers at the top step will get an additional $500.
Under the new agreement, performance-pay raises will remain unchanged. All raises are set for the next two years.
She said many teachers this year will also get one-time bonuses.
“I think most teachers are going to walk away with much more money this year than last year,” Brady said.
For example, teachers scoring high on evaluations will get $800 or $1,200 “Best and Brightest” bonuses. Some will also get $6,000 for a Best and Brightest scholarship they had to apply for.
Also, teachers working in hard-to-staff positions get extra pay.
In the mean time the union will be starting a teacher pay study this year.
“Within the next four or five years, we won’t have anybody on [the pay system for pre-2011 teachers] in any significant number because of retirements and attrition,” Brady said. “Because of that, we want to see, ‘Do we have the best processes in place to benefit our employees in the district?’"
About 55 percent of Duval’s teachers are on the performance pay system, the rest are grandfathered in on the old system.
Brady said negotiations for non-monetary benefits, like teachers' now getting two days of bereavement leave, also lengthened the bargaining process.